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0/35 Mens Final

Published: 14 May 2008 - 09:51 by jimbob1965

Updated: 19 May 2008 - 18:10

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Hi Rippa and all

I can honestly say that the men's final was the most enthralling and exciting game of squash I have ever witnessed.  You are right that Palmer had more in the tank, particularly in the first two games, but James made a great spectacle of it with some absolutely amazing and what looked like impossible retrieving to take it to a fifth.  Shame James could not have taken the crown to top off an excellent night for the partisan crowd, especially after 2 match balls of his own, one of which he perhaps had a good call to have had converted by the award of a stroke instead of a let (there were quite a few disputed calls throughout the match and some inconsistent decision making).  David looked dead on his feet towards the latter part of the game, but somehow found a second wind and appeared to almost want it more during the crucial points.

The women's final was mostly one way traffic and there was only ever going to be one winner with Nicol at her very best.  Jenny didn't appear to play that badly, in fact she matched Nicol during the second game and could have even taken it, she just had the misfortune to play Nicol in devastating form.  Nicol just seems to be able to maintain that form more often than the other players.   It was certainly very impressive to watch, particuarly as has been pointed out, her seemingly effortless movement around the court.

There was obvioulsy the excitement of the racket spin for me at the start of this match.  The promoters had managed to find a junior player from one of the main local clubs in the North West of England who came onto the court as well to perform the actual spin, which was the one thing Jenny actually did win!  I hope that meeting the world number 1 and one of the current best British players will inspire her game for the future.  It was certainly an honour and priviledge for this forty something average club player to get to stand on the world's most prestigious squash court alongside these players.  There was a bit of a fiasco at the end with the matchball, as no one had told Nicol to hang on to it, so she promptly flung it into the crowd - good throw as well, reaching the back row directly behind where we were sitting!  You can imagine my dismay, but the promoters managed to retrieve it and get is signed.  However, they used a non permanent marking pen so the signatures all smudged!  They managed to get another ball signed in permanent biro, so I now have two signed match balls (not sure what the second one was used for though!).  I also have my new Aerogel Ultimate, which I am itching to get on court to use, but I am going to have to wait until Friday.  Still cannot believe what a bargain I got!

We had a mini 'squashgame.info rendez-vous' with me and my mate and Adz and his mate meeting by the bar for a quick drink before the men's over 35s.  Great to meet you Adz and hope to see you again soon at another tournament - the World Open in Manchester perhaps?  Talking of the men's over 35s, this was another cracking match, with another comeback from 0-2 down but this time with the comeback kid taking the title - David Campion.  Steve Richardson, his Irish opponent, is some player though.  Squash is not even his day job as he is a hedge fund manager in the City of London.  I would love to be able to emulate his backhand drive technique - huge power but with total control.  I did not realise that David Campion and James Willstrop are brothers (presumably half brothers with the same mothergiven the different surnames?), as alluded to by both during their respective speeches.

Anyway, I have rambled on for long enough now and I need to get to bed as I did not get in until 1.30am last night and still had to get up early for work this morning.  Next time, I will take the day off afterwards as well!

Cheers

Jimbob

ps. added these pics taken on the day.

squash game squash extras How to add images to Members' Forum posts and replies here...

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From Adz - 19 May 2008 - 18:10

After reading those words from Malcolm Willstrop I have to say that I have even greater respect for him. A man who is a great coach and a clear professional. Like I said in my earlier post..... did the best man win on the night? No he didn't because BOTH men deserved to win. Pity you can't have draws in Squash, but then I guess that might have been a worse outcome than the one we got.

 

Who do I think should have won?

Firstly I'm completely unbiased in my views..... I'm Welsh, with an English wife and Austrailian Grandparents. I have no alligance to either country and could make my views based on the players themselves. So that said...... I really wanted David to win, but believed James would win.

Out of the blocks with David taking the lead and the final was a bit of a let-down, but only because it was clear that James wasn't focused on the match and David was playing amazing squash to make it a very one sided affair. Indeed it wasn't really until halfway through the second when we really started to see a see-saw match begin to develop. Leading into the third which was probably the most interesting game of the match for me. It was the balance point that tipped in James' favour....

One - David with ease

Two - David but James came back in the end

Three - James but only after a good start from David

Four - James with ease

So that led us all nicely into the fifth and final game........... It was always destined to be a close fought game. The match up until then had been all about balance. So where to now?

Like I said before, the fifth was a true point for point trade until James fired off 3 points to take the lead 9-6. As David pulled off a superb recovery to claw back James' lead. The rest as they say is history, and I stand by my (and other's) words that the refereeing got it wrong at the end of the match. A mistake which probably led to the wrong man winning on the night. But that is sport. Highs and lows. I'm sure it isn't consolation for James, but he really did deserve to be the winner on that night, without taking anything away from David who is a worthy champion. The torch hasn't been passed down just yet, but it's on its way............

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From rippa rit - 19 May 2008 - 07:36   -   Updated: 19 May 2008 - 07:42

Malcolm Willstrop's words on the British Open Final

Take a scroll down and read Adz's report of the final to get the true realisation of how much sweat goes into these big matches.

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From jimbob1965 - 19 May 2008 - 05:09   -   Updated: 19 May 2008 - 06:04

Rita, I agree with you that the players should wear different colours and indeed, you are having difficulty distinguishing between them as it was Willstrop and not Palmer with the claim for the stroke.

It's a tough call but I feel it was more of a stroke than a let.  Trouble was, as I alluded to in my report, there were some other dubious calls during the match, and I think James was awarded quite a controvertial stroke the point before, so the ref may have been 'evening it up' somewhat with this call.  Indeed, I think you can even make out my voice at the end of the clip saying to my mate 'that was more of a stroke than the last one'!

Anyone else got any views on this one?

Cheers

Jimbob

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From rippa rit - 18 May 2008 - 18:51

James - Firstly, I wish these players would consult each other before putting on their squash gear - two players of similar stature in black and white is a bit hard on the concentration.

Thanks also for the other video clip of that point where it appeared to me that Palmer was asking for more room (was it a bit exaggerated?) to play a backhand and stepped into Willstrop while moving backwards (the question being did Palmer have enough room to play the ball; did Willstrop prevent him from playing the ball by not moving further back).  I could not honestly make a definite comment as it is difficult to really judge the distances in the video replay.  I did think the let was called at the point of interference.

Panic and anxiousness, and gamesmanship, combined cause lots of contention.

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From jimbob1965 - 18 May 2008 - 08:37

Rita, re the 'let' during Palmer's matchball, there was a very similar incident during Willstrop's first matchball at 10/9.  I also managed to video this as I was determined to capture the moment the victor won.  I have also now uploaded this to Youtube - see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-iVYYSpdz8

At the time, I thought James had a good shout for the stroke here, and James is clearly surprised not to have been awarded it (as was the crowd although we were just a tad biased!!).  It is certainly a stronger shout for a stroke than David had during his matchball but I suppose the ref was never going to award it after refusing James' earlier.  I would be interested in hearing others' views on this.  It's certainly not clear cut.  Who'd be a ref eh?!!

Cheers

Jimbob

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From raystrach - 16 May 2008 - 09:36

Here is the video that jimbob took. not bad for being in the stands amid the tension of match point!

by the way, thanks so much for the reports from both jimbob and adz. i rerally think they captured something of the excitement of the day. Really well done!

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From rippa rit - 16 May 2008 - 08:53   -   Updated: 16 May 2008 - 09:27

Jimbob - that was a really good video of the last point, excellent work Jim.  I am pleased you managed to upload the pics to squashgame and the video to u-tube, well done.

It was clear to see the balls going into the corners too, and if it did not, "trouble" was eminent. Without reading all the posts again, whoo! I thought a mention was made of the last point (it might have been in another report) and of course the "let" was in the viewers minds being the crucial point.  It was clearly a "let", and in fact if there had not been "tension" on the players, and if he had the opportunity to revise his decision and was to play the point again, he probably would have elected to play on in spite of the interference.  A split-second decision by Palmer, maybe hoping to sway the Ref too, and this time the Referee did make the right answer.  Tough.

 

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From rippa rit - 15 May 2008 - 09:08

Adz and Jimbob - thanks for your interest in our squashgame forum and the very  comprehensive reports.  Adz the walkthrough of the Semis and finals made an interesting read.  It sure showed that squash is like a "see saw".

Jimbob we look forward to a photo as well as the video.

The enthusiasm imparted will help us keep pressing forward with our squashgame plans, as well as motivate our members to keep getting on the court.

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From scar - 15 May 2008 - 06:15   -   Updated: 15 May 2008 - 06:15

Hey guys - thanks so much for the updates. Well, Jimbob is right - Adz your report is really comprehensive and entertaining.

 

Good to hear from you guys after a while!

Adz - Congrats on the wedding and news of the baby girl due.

Happy squashing

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From jimbob1965 - 15 May 2008 - 03:55   -   Updated: 16 May 2008 - 08:33

I have uploaded a few pics of the racket spin, women's final, men's O35s, men's final and the presentations.

I have also uploaded the matchball video to Youtube - see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IMVxR4KBcg

---------------------------------

Rita, although I had my camera on me, I'm sorry but just did not think about snapping Adz and myself - I was too busy worrying about getting enough good shots of the players!  My friend took my camera and got some shots of the racket spin party on court though.  I'll upload one and some of the action when I get a moment.  I'm also just waiting on receiving a copy of the official photo.  I also videoed the matchball in the men's final and plan to upload this to Youtube - as soon as I do, I will post a link.

Adz, that was some comprehensive report and a great read!  Are you angling for a job reporting for Squashsite?  Should Framboise be worried at all?!  Congrats on the forthcoming new arrival.  I hope she won't mean you are unable to play as much squash.  When my first child came along, I dropped my squash racket (which had a much smaller head than today's rackets so that gives away how long ago that was!) and didn't pick it up again until about 13 years later!  It's one of my biggest regrets that I missed out on what probably should have been my best playing years.

Cheers

Jimbob

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From Adz - 14 May 2008 - 21:07   -   Updated: 14 May 2008 - 21:08

 

Jimbob!

Glad to see that you enjoyed it as much as I did. My only disappointment was getting the result wrong in the mens O35 final, but I think you'd agree that after the first 2 games Steve Richardson was well in control and looked to be the far better player (although un-fitter clearly!!).

 

No photos taken I'm afraid Rita, I'm not the photogenic type, and there was enough difficulty last week with my wedding photos (although I did manage a smile or two).

 

I was there for the semis and the finals as so I had plenty of time to wander around the exhibition stands as well as watch some awesome squash. I think people don't quite realise how much work goes on behind the scenes of these tournaments, and I had the pleasure of speaking to the reps of some of the major companies (Ashaway / Black Knight, Tecnifibre, Price, Head, Dunlop), and was very pleased that they were all open and friendly about their own (and other's) product ranges. I went through the pros and cons of different brands with each rep, as well as asking a few of my own trivial questions (so you'd think!). Turns out that I wasn't the only one who thought about stupid things like the colours of grips and the customised racquet weights used by the pros.

 

My major disappointment was that nobody seems to make a XXL size technical squash shirt - all of the very nice looking ones only went up to an XL (for note I have a 48" chest and across the shoulders gets very tight on an XL shirt - especially a tight fitting technical one!). Anyone reading this from a design point of view - PLEASE GET SOME XXL SHIRTS!!!!!

 

So onto the squash...........

 

Sunday (Semis!)

Mens O40 - Buit vs Martindale

I have to admit that after turning up late and seeing Martindale getting a relative beating, I spent more time wandering around the exhibitions than watching this match. It was much longer than the scores suggested, and both men put a lot of work in, but there was only ever going to be one winner (more on him later!).

 

Mens O35 - Campion vs Frenz

I spoke to Frenz before the match and he sounded calm, but looked a bit nervous. Deservedly so I think as Campion was as cool as they come getting onto court. No disrespect intended to any of the players, but sometimes a player just never gets into a match, and for Frenz, this was one of those times. Campion never looked troubled beyond the opening rallies and we never got a chance to see just how good either player was as they struggled to get to grips with the glass court. Campion won in easy fashion in a solid but un-spectacular match, which I really believe did no justice to the talents of either player. For anyone who gets to see Frenz play, his wrist flick shots are truly amazing to see and left Campion standing scratching his head on more than one occasion! But Campion's fitness more than made up for the shot play of Frenz.

 

Womens Semi - Duncalf vs Stoehr

I have to admit I got this one wrong. I really thought that Stoehr was going to pull out an upset, but right from the off I knew if it wasn't 3-0 it wasn't going to happen at all! Stoehr was quite simply dominating in the first and for a while I really thought my early feelings were right and that she was going to take over another seeded player. The first went to Stoehr in simple fashion with Duncalf struggling to get into the game. Second saw much of the same as a start, but then Duncalf's fitness began to show through (although at this point I had some arrogant idiot sat next to me screaming about how unfit Duncalf was and how she wasn't making any effort to cover the drops - sadly I was going to be stuck next to this &*%£$" all day but it wouldn't mar my enjoyment - more priceless comments from him later!). Despite obviously(!) not making any effort and clearly being badly unfit(??) Duncalf took hold in the end of the second and it really was only going to be one result from there. Solid finish and a deserved final place. Hats off to Stoehr, a very solid player with some great racquet-work, but I can't help thinking that on a fresh playing field (first round not semi!) this match would have ended far closer than it did!

 

Mens Semi - Palmer vs Darwish

All I can say is WOW!!!! Palmer went off like a steam train. Flawless stuff in the first as he ran Darwish from pillar to post. For a brief moment I thought Palmer was on form and nobody would beat him in the tournament. Then it began. Darwish found his stride. The pace seemed to become too great for Palmer and when it slowed slightly Darwish really took over. The tables turned and Darwish began to destroy Palmer, physically punishing him in every ralley. After Darwish took the second with ease and took an early lead in the third there looked like no way back for Palmer. Then after a bit of a tumble Darwish came off to have a blood injury dealt with. After 2 mins when the tournament organiser rushed to speak to the compare I knew it was not good news for Darwish. It appears that the tumble had done more than cut his knee and Darwish had to throw in the towel. Palmer (being a true professional) openly admitted that just before the match was abandoned he was really worried and wasn't sure how he was going to come back to win from when he was. Truer words maybe......?

 

Mens O40 - McLoughlin vs Abbas

Once again I went on my wanders so I missed most of this match, but I was fairly confident that Abbas wasn't going to be too troubled by this one. He looked extremely fit and ready for the match. The result was expected and Abbas was through to the final.

 

Mens O35 - White vs Richardson

Have you ever met someone who makes you think "Damn - I envy that guy!". Well for the first time I got to see Steve Richardson play. I'll go on record and say that I was completely gutted at this point. The guy looks like Prince Charming out of the kids stories with moussy blonde tied up hair and a squarer jawline than a rubix-cube, clearly super-fit, works as a hedge fund manager in London and has fantastic racquet skills. My hopes were that he'd be arrogant and obnoxious, but sadly he seemed to be a really nice guy and had a smile on his face everytime I saw him over the two days. Quite sickening in an envious kind of way! Anyhow, back to the squash. Both players had a bit of trouble with the court to start with, and there were some great rallies with elastic-band retrieval from Richardson. Once the first game was out of the way White looked a little tired and soon the match was flowing in the favour of his opponent. A one-sided final game ended the match, and the prospect of Richardson vs Campion was ready to be the highlight of my finals day!

 

Womens Semi – David vs Grainger

Grainger was really up for this match, and despite Nicol being the obvious favourite, it was Grainger who started better. The first few rallies she completely dominated and Nicol looked lost on there. This was the first time I’d ever got to see Nicol on court and I was getting nervous that I was going to see an off day from a player that I admire so much. I think Natalie got to about 4 or 5-1 up before it began. Nicol started to run and retrieve at a level that easily matches the top world male players. I know that we always talk about the male elite in our examples, but Nicol was something else. She stretched and turned and I don’t even know how it happened, but she was suddenly in the lead and cruised through to take the first. Natalie looked tired and Nicol looked like she wanted to get back on the court as soon as she could. Between games she was back on the court and itching to get on with the match. The last two games didn’t do justice to Natalie as Nicol took her apart shot by shot and ralley by ralley. No upsets here as Nicol cruised through into the final.

 

Mens Semi – Willstrop vs Lincou

The last time I went to see a professional match live was back in 2007 for the Super Series Finals, and I’m sure I would have written about how thin and ill I thought Lincou looked. I’m glad to say that he had a bit more meat on him this time round and looked fit and ready to go against the big Englishman. Ultimately I have to admit to being a big James Willstrop fan, and after seeing him play once in Edgebaston Priory in a super-league match I’ve always been a big fan. So far I felt the match of the day had been the mens O35s between Richardson and White, but that was quickly changed when Willstrop and Lincou began to battle for each point. Back and forth the rallies went in the first, and there was some great retrieving from Willstrop that seemed to take the wind out of Lincou’s sails. I’m not sure whether it was Willstrop playing better or if it was Lincou looking completely out of sorts in the second, but it was an easy game for Willstrop and certainly didn’t match the intensity of the first. As everyone by now will know, Lincou is undoubtedly the best in the world at the 2-0 down comeback, and in the third he began working Willstrop every which way he could. The crowd were left gasping for breath on some points as Willstrop made some seemingly impossible returns. The fight continued through to the closing of the match, but the points were flowing in Willstrop’s favour. He took the third after a strong finish and moved into the final to face a possibly fresher David Palmer! One a lighter note, my outspoken idiot sat next to me proceeded to show his ignorance with comments along the lines of “I have no idea how Willstrop can be world number 3 with so many obvious flaws in his game. He really isn’t very good is he?!” I bit my lip and decided against telling his to shut up and stop talking complete crap.

 

Monday – FINALS DAY!!

We arrived VERY early for the finals, but not as early as Palmer and Willstrop who were already warming up for the day – Palmer had just finished on court (this is around 11am!!), and Willstrop was just going on court to knock up. I watched for a while but soon turned to walking around the exhibitions. Willstrop was still on there about 40 mins later when they announced the opening match.

I’ll admit that I didn’t pay much attention to the O45s finals as I left the arena to get some lunch after spending a lot of time talking to Liam Nolan (Head of the UK RSA), a man who knows possibly everything about strings – I’ve asked him to get in touch with Ray about possibly doing some sort of inter-website link between so his members can learn more about playing / coaching and so that all of us can learn more about stringing and racquet customising. He was very impressed by the site!!

So, back in the arena and I’ve taken my (well technically someone else’s) seat for the rest of the finals!

 

Womens O40s- Pierce vs Willis

This was an interesting match to watch, Pierce appeared to have an easy match on her hands as she raced away to take the first 9-2. I have to admit it was a pleasant surprise to see Willis come back in the second to level the match at 1-1, but it appeared to take a lot out of her. As expected, looking the less worse for wear player on the court, Pierce took the pivotal third game to set herself up for a very easy fourth game.

 

Mens O40s – Buit vs Abbas

So these were the two I’d paid little attention to the day before. Buit is a tall Ginger haired guy whilst Abbas was considerably shorter with dark hair. Chalk and Cheese to look at, and the body language on court was also complete opposites. Abbas didn’t seem nervous, but was certainly tense in the warm up. Buit was the complete opposite and I’d even go so far as to say that he looked extremely calm. As you’d expect from a man who is something like 8 times Dutch national champion and heavy favourite to win the British Open (again!). When the match started there were some frantic opening rallies, but Abbas just couldn’t seem to string two together to get himself on the scoreboard. Back and forth the match went, but Buit just seemed to be pulling away on the scores, taking the first AND second games 9-0. I honestly believed that at 3-0 up in the 3rd, Buit was taking this one 27-0. I think it was about 5-0 when Abbas finally got those magic two rallies back to back to get himself his first point on the scoreboard. It was like a floodgate had opened and suddenly the match became just a bit more balanced. There was still only going to be one winner as the lanky ginger man stretched around the court retrieving virtually everything Abbas could throw at him. The third ended 9-3 with both men looking very tired! The score never did justice for Abbas who certainly deserved more, but I think the 3-0 scoreline was definitely the right result.

 

Womens O35 – Cowie vs Walker

Another chalk and cheese match-up with Cowie being a shorter nimble build and Walker probably being taller than me (I’m 6ft), and looking very powerful on court. Walker was clearly struggling from the word go and had her knee badly bandaged. The first game was very one sided and everytime the ball went short Walker was struggling to reach the front and do anything with the ball. A very easy first game to Cowie, but Walker was beginning to loosen up towards the end. The second started almost identical to the first, and I was expecting any good coach to have advised Cowie to attack the width and the front to keep Walker struggling (no room for being nice in the final!). Clearly Cowie’s coach was from the nice side of the fence and as the rallies began to move Walker (but not short or wide), her knee began to loosen up. Cowie took the second, but no looked tired with Walker reaching any drops with interest. The third came as no surprise to me. Walker moved with far more ease and her powerplay took over with some crisply struck drives forcing errors from Cowie. Third went to Walker but I knew it would be the only one. The fourth began with Cowie taking the non-nicety approach. Drops became lethally short and width started to push Walker side to side. Cowie dominated to take the match 9-0. Now comes the really fun part. It turns out that Cowie in the National Champion and now the British Open Champion. Arguably one of the best O35 female players in the world and the best in the country based on the National’s result. So what number does she play for England? SHE DOESN’T!!! Due to red tape stupidity, she does not play for England as she has not competed in the required amount of Grand-Prix events (5 Nationals British Open). Does this sound like stupidity to anyone else? It was clear from the post match interview that Walker (note: The Captain of England!!) tried to weasel out of the questions of why Cowie hadn’t been invited to play for the team. Yet another example of the red-tape misery of England Squash! Seen it before and no doubt will see it again!

 

Mens O35 – Richardson vs Campion

Like I said earlier, this was the one that I’d been waiting for all day. I told Jimbob when I met him that this looked like it was going to be an amazing match, and I hope anyone else who sees it agrees that I wasn’t wrong (except in picking the winner!). After seeing both men play the previous day it was clear that Richardson had speed and skill on his side, but Campion looked like he was fitter in endurance. I was confident in a 3-0 or 3-1 victory for Richardson, and the first game proved me right. Richardson outplayed Campion in the first in all aspects. The pace was high and the ball was flying. Some great rallies and the crowd was loving every minute. The second followed the first but as the pace slowed it began to suit Campion who started to punish Richardson with some long working rallies. At 8-6 up to Richardson the referee’s made a complete hash. A puzzled look on Campions face was met with a “Yes Let” after he’d failed to even move toward a passing length from Richardson. Outrage followed when it turned out that Campion was querying an earlier pick-up which he was then told was good. However, realising that he could now have a let for the passing length, he changed his query and was promptly given a let. Disgraceful refereeing and even more disgraceful play from Campion who was clearly not bothered to do anything he needed to win. Note that earlier in the match after another dodgy decision, Richardson offered to play a let for Campion, over-ruling the referee. Being honest got Richardson no-where in this match, and he had to work very hard to go onto win 10-9, but it clearly took everything out of him. Despite Richardson getting 5-1 up in the third, Campion’s comeback began and was never really in doubt. He came straight through the three final games to take the match relatively unbothered. Questions have to be asked on what would have happened if Richardson hadn’t had to have worked so hard at the end of the second. This would not be the only time that a crucial decision decided the outcome of a match....

 

Womens Final – David vs Duncalf.

No disrespect intended to Jenny, and I’m really impressed with how much she’s improved over the passed 18 months, but the gulf between the top 3 ladies and the rest is massive. And the gulf between Nicol and the rest is also huge in itself! The match began very even, with scores tied at 1-1 for what seemed like dozens of rallies. In the blink of an eye Nicol had reached 5 points and was heading to take the first game. 9-1?? How the hell did that happen? Duncalf was holding her own in each ralley, but just like Abbas vs Buit, she couldn’t string two together – BRING IN PAR SCORING FOR HEAVENS SAKE!!

 

As I said, the game was very even up until now in the rallies, and from here it showed in the scores. Jenny was in there all the way in this one, and some fantastic play near the end of the game saw her take an 8-7 lead, only for it cruelly snatched away from her by Super-Nicol. I’m going to have to start calling her that from now on as she must be related to Superman or Supergirl. She reaches EVERYTHING and what’s worse is that she gets it back with interest!

 

As they started the third, Jenny looked deflated. Gutted from not taking the second and heartbroken that Nicol just got everything back. One, Two, Three, FOUR should be winners a ralley and they all came back with interest. What else can you do? Jenny had nothing more to give and Nicol took the final game 9-0 to regain her British Open title. Amazing match!

 

Mans Final – Willstrop vs Palmer

Something that you won’t read in a review site is that James got his kit wrong. His wristbands were all dripping wet and it panicked him. He was rushing around just before the serve trying to get himself sorted. He was so bothered by it that he put his shirt on inside-out! Now at this level playing the final against the most prepared man in squash today, do you think he was in the right mind-set going into the match? Hell no! And it showed! David played well but James played awful! He was unbalanced, nervous, edgy, and under so much pressure that he physically couldn’t stop himself sweating so much that he was dripping on the court. It had to be wiped every 5 minutes and each time David was just becoming more and more focused whilst James become more pressured. 11-9 11-9 did no justice to the first two games as David outclassed and outplayed James. 11-2 11-5 would have been a fairer scoreline (as James pushed to get back into the end of the second).

 

And going into the third that push had brought new found confidence. James was back with a vengeance. No more over-sweating. No more nerves. No more pressure showing. The tables had turned and David looked tired and pressured. Unforced errors began to creep in (I know there was only 9 by each player in the entire match, but David’s mostly came in the third and fourth!). James looked hugely confident entering the fourth, and it looked like the second 2-0 down comeback of the day was on the cards. A very confident James took the fourth with ease to level the match at 2-2. The fifth was expected to go the same way, but we were all to be surprised……

 

David must have known that it was now or never. He went for it, as did James. Back and forth the match went. I think up as far as 6-6. James got the bit between his teeth and in a flash he was 9-6 up. Surely it was his time now? No! Back came David yet again. The match was teetering 10-9 to James and David hits the ball down the middle. James has his racquet up in David’s face. Surely a stroke? NO!! Let Ball from the referee. The Crowd is going wild. Back comes David. 10-10, 10-11, 11-11, 12-11. Match ball. Another stroke call? No, Let again. David running like his life depended on it (maybe it did?). James puts in a stunning drop and David hurls himself forward. Pushed shot cross-court and into the opposite nick????? Everyone thinks it’s a double hit. NO…… A LET????? NO!!!!!!! Referee bottled it and let the point stand. David wins 13-11 and a horrified James can’t even speak let alone argue for a Let! David puts his hands up in joy, but there’s a look in his face which is either shock about winning or guilt about how he won!

 

Did the better man win on the night? NO! There was no better man as both played the best squash I have EVER seen in 20 years of watching the sport. Not always the best standard. Not always evenly matched. But a thrilling game that I’d watch again and again and again. Thankfully on this day I didn’t have to sit next to an idiot telling me how flawed James’s game is. Or how unfit and old David is. Anyone who thinks that they know better than these two Gladiators step and up say it openly. I’ll step up now and say that this final was worth every mile driven (over 500 between there and back!), and every second spent in those god-awfully uncomfortable chairs! Would I do it again? Every day if I could!!!!

 

Jimbob…… Perhaps Manchester would be a great idea…….. but after having a baby girl due in September, I don’t think it’d be the best time for me!

 

Apologies for the overly long post, but hopefully it'll be good reading for anyone who couldn't make it!!

 

 

Adz

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From mike - 14 May 2008 - 15:01

Yeah great write up Jimbob. Even doing the racket spin could be difficult for those not used to the conditions

If I download the womens match I'll keep an eye out for you.

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From rippa rit - 14 May 2008 - 09:55

James - a great report of the event.  I hope some of the stuff "rubbed off" on you.  What a great thing for squashgame.info to have their members meet for a drink too at such a prestigeous event....guess you did not think to get a photo for the forum?

Great stuff.

 

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